Local residents know of Love Lane in Mattituck. One of the restaurants on the picturesque street is Love Lane Kitchen. This quaint and charming restaurant has all the essentials to make a meal fabulous. The food seems so creative, yet with the use of local ingredients everything becomes agreeably simple.
Love Lane Kitchen is open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch serving a consistent menu with specials listed on a chalkboard. Their dinner menu is constantly changing with creative new ideas, that I believe give the restaurant an edge.
After years of living in Italy, Michael Avella and his wife Patty Avella, the owners of Love Lane Kitchen, landed on the idea of having an Italian menu on Tuesday nights. The menu was designed for a three or four- course meal, including a dessert, and customers would enjoy whatever the chef prepared that night. Avella’s idea developed into an every-Tuesday-night “Tour of Italy” event with the 20 regions of Italy inspiring the Tuesday night meals.
On Tuesday, May 10, my four-course meal was incredibly appealing, to say the least, with foods I have never tasted in other restaurants. (Maybe that is due to my lack of exploration, but from this meal forward I will be “testing the waters” with my newly expanded palate.)
After being welcomed into the restaurant, I felt as if I was a part of this Love Lane family. The meet-and-greet with Avella and his crew was so open-armed I felt as if they had known me for years! With that being said, he came to join my boyfriend and me, as we would conquer this meal together.
The Antipasti arrived first, the traditional Italian starters, which consisted of fried olives stuffed with sausage with a sprinkle of cheese on top, and a tuna carpaccio. I am not a big fan of olives, but I decided to give it a try and I thoroughly enjoyed them! The stuffing “mellowed” the olive taste, and what I thought would be an overpowering burst in my mouth instead was a delicious experience. I then dove into my tuna, which was gorgeously pink and orange and of a perfect consistency. The drizzle of lemon olive oil paired with an exceptional tuna mayonnaise – created specifically for this dish – couldn’t have been a better combo. This piece of tuna tasted as if they had just caught it that very Tuesday, so fresh and extremely delicate. The meal was off to a great start.
George, our waiter, brought us our Primo, the pasta dish, an experience I will never forget. Out came this black pasta with a gorgeous bright orange blossom on top! The color combination was perfect – the dark pasta a stunning background for the vivid squash blossom. The dish was actually homemade squid ink pasta with shrimp and squash blossoms in white wine and garlic. It was delicate and smooth. The sauce was so light and just a pinch creamy, it left me ready for one more delicious course exactly how Avella and Chef John Nordin had planned.
Finally, the Secondo arrived, known as the protein dish. We were given a plate of monkfish, cockles and periwinkles…a dish I’ll never forget. A fresh marinara sauce surrounded it all. The monkfish was perfectly cooked, and the cockles were tender. The periwinkles, also known as snails, were a perfect addition to the plate. It was a very interactive dish because you had to work to get them out of their shells. But it was so worth it…and provided fun table conversation.
The dessert was exceptional – nothing like I had had before. It was a rice pudding but different from what most Americans are used to. It was an Arborio rice pudding with bitter chocolate, pine nuts and orange zest. Everything a girl could dream about eating after a delicious meal! The orange zest was subtle and hit the palate at just the right time,
Love Lane Kitchen is located at 240 Love Lane, Mattituck. Reservations for the Tuesday night Tour of Italy dinners can be made by calling 631-298-8989. Lovelanekitchen.com.
The Love Lane Market will open in approximately six weeks. It will specialize in on-the-go lunches (not many seating areas) with Japanese and Italian Pizza stations. The market itself will have huge refrigerators stocked with fresh mozzarella and fresh local ingredients for people to make Love Lane Kitchen-style meals at home. Owner Avella emphasizes the idea of local ingredients you can cook with at home. Fresh pasta will also be made daily.